Finding the Positives in the AI Storm

May 14, 2024

By Kim Burmeister, CEO

As the world scrambles to determine the benefits of AI in their direct world, I continue to be inspired and intrigued by some of the ways this technology is being leveraged in spaces that impact many of our lives. There is no lack of stories that are concerning and negative given the power of AI, but I don’t think we can overlook the application of this tool in the ways it can improve the world around us.

Here are some of my favorite use cases along with some articles to read a bit more about each topic.

Gun detection: Ask any parent in America about the lockdown drills our children go through at school and you will understand how real this threat can be. Just a few weeks ago, I was in a meeting when I received a text from my daughter stating that the school was on lockdown. My heart sank. Anything we can do to reduce the likelihood of unnecessary gun violence in schools, at public events, or other places typically considered safe would be a win for society.

Article: Schools turn to artificial intelligence to spot guns as companies press lawmakers for state funds

Education: Continuing on the topic of students, let’s explore how AI is taught responsibly in schools. Teachers are already showing the benefits of leveraging this technology to improve upon our writing and idea generation. By instructing students to use the tooling to make their work better, not do the work for them. Ensuring original thought is the source of the AI feedback, not the other way around. The students are most craving feedback and AI is delivering in a way that most educators are unable to do efficiently. Rather than waiting days for feedback, they get it instantly. How do you keep them honest? Make them turn in their original work and their final version. A+

Article: How is AI being used in Colorado classrooms?

Traffic: In Michigan, we have a season that comes on the heels of Winter, it is called “Construction Season”. When roadways get shutdown due to construction or an accident, the normal flow of traffic is drastically impacted. Roads that previously saw little traffic become heavily traveled and backups become more frequent. This congestion can be helped by leveraging AI to drive changes. The other upside? Emission reduction by reducing idle vehicles.

Google’s AI Is Making Traffic Lights More Efficient and Less Annoying | WIRED
California to tap generative AI tools to increase services access, reduce traffic jams | AP News

Women’s Health: Medical advances have a dual positive impact in many cases. They can improve the results for patients while also lightening the workload within a hospital system. In the United States, we will be facing a shortage in healthcare workers as we see an increase in need due to the baby boomer generation starting to depend more heavily on healthcare services with fewer healthcare workers available. Any incremental improvements made to manual work will make a helpful impact. 

Also, earlier detection of issues to allow for intervention and prevention keep many people out of hospitals and healthier. AI advancements are helping to reduce preeclampsia cases and post pregnancy hemorrhages. Add to this list that there may be earlier detection of cancers and we cannot overlook the benefits of AI in the healthcare space.

Article: Women’s Health Month: Artificial Intelligence Can Improve OB-GYN Care

Social Network: Ok, hear me out on this one. When I read about AI generated friends or people talking to deceased relatives with AI tooling, I immediately flash to the likes of the movie Her or Lars and the Real Girl. But there are many people benefiting from these computer generated beings. With mental health issues and loneliness on the rise, this could be a solution to keep people from feeling disconnected. There are still a lot of issues in this technology as AI tries to learn about emotional and social intelligence, but over time it will become more capable of holding conversations and tying back to previous facts.

Artificial Intelligence ‘Friends’ – The New York Times

Theft Reduction and Customer Satisfaction: In the case of Sam’s Club they have taken efforts to balance theft reduction and customer satisfaction. Both are important and their receipt verification process was leading to long lines in many stores. Despite speeding up the checkout process with mobile apps and self-checkout, customers would still find themselves stuck in a line on their way out the door. AI technology will now be performing the scan in a more efficient and customer friendly way. This means you can spend more time eating the in-store samples. 

Article: Sam’s Club says AI will handle exit checks in all stores by end of 2024 | Fox Business

For every story that generates negativity and fear, there is an opposing positive and beneficial use case for AI. There is certainly a balance and some form of regulation will need to come to the forefront. In the meantime, keep looking for the ways you can use it to make life better and I know you will find them.